tv The Communicators CSPAN March 5, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
for all intents and purposes, not one bill in america had broadband. girl, for a 12 ural boy or in america, they believe it is a constitutional right to have a 58 inch hd screen in their living room and that they would be left behind. before it passed, we lived in an analog world, a dial-up world. we had to move to broadband and digital. so we created a digital freefall in that bill where every company could do everything. so that telescoped the timeframe that it took to deploy fiber across our country, to create the capacity so that all of these new companies could get created. hulu, andike google, youtube are part of the culture today but they were impossible to be created before the act.
we got a lot right, nothing is perfect. but one thing we did do was move not only our own country but the world from analog to digital. if you living in india or china in a using the words that were created including twitter or facebook that would not be possible without that bill. . >> what we got right is, we worked together. fortunately, we had a very strong friendship prior to that, as he did to other members of the committee. i think we asked the right questions. i think it was our sincere desire to get this right. the last major piece of telecommunication legislation somed in 1934 when you had radio, some telephone, telik -- telegraph and smoke signals.
we view this as an historic opportunity to work together. not only as members but we talked with members of the industry trying to truly understand not only where the world was at that particular moment, but where the world was going to be 20 years from now. our goal was to take away the lines of demarcation that presented competition and by unleashing the competitive forces it created the investment needed to bring the world to where it is today. when we were looking at this, which right not to pick winners and losers. we try to do what was best for the average consumer. >> one of the goals as you put it was too centered framework and competition for open entry. how did you do that legislatively?
telephones and long-distance was a place we spent a great deal of our time. we had everyone saying, we don't mind if we have a competitor is certain things are done. so ultimately we came up with what has been called the checklist. if telephone companies did certain things they could get into the long-distance business. they could get into the telephone business in the cable guys could compete. don't what to speak for the senator, but i think we had a common view that more competitors created more opportunity and more investment and all of that was to the benefit of the average consumer in america. create aal was to darwinian, paranoia-inducing marketplace. and to do that, we had to take down all of the old areas. cable companies could not provide phone service.
downwe had to do was break all of the monopolies in one bill and say that every company can do everything and then go to it. we don't of who the winners and losers will be except for the american consumer and this innovation culture which we would unleash. from that moment on, $1.5 trillion of investment went into the sector. it was no longer this rotary dial world. no longer this world where you had to go to multiple companies to get all of the services. that is really what changed the marketplace. our goal was really a digital revolution. we did not know who the winners and losers would be. we did not know if pets.com would win or lose or if google would win or lose, but we knew that there would be far more
winners than losers. i had already partnered when the democrats were in control. this lawready passed in 1994, the telecommunications act of 1994. it was killed in the senate. we had already passed it nearly unanimously and what jack and i thatecided in 1993 was while he was one of the most fromrvative congressman texas and i was among the most liberal democrats for massachusetts, that we would put it all aside so that america could spread out into the lead. 1995 and thatched jack is the chairman and i'm the ranking member and we flipped roles, what jack said to me was we will just keep the same tarnish it. we will act in the same way.
we will ensure that this is completely non-ideological and that is our best likelihood that we will take on monopolies and break down all of the barriers and get this huge revolution up and running. >> if i could, let me brag a little bit about the process. eddie and i were friends, weekly day, we wouldry talk on the basketball court about telecommunication reform. we would go to each other's offices and sit on the floor. but we also did that with john .ingell and mike oxley we had a bipartisan team of people working on this reform. eddie is absolutely correct. if we had not begun this process in 1990 three or 1984, it would've been difficult to arrive at a product in 1996.
when you look back at the recent history of major pieces of legislation, i really believe that our stands out. not saying it to boast, but i think ours stands out as a major use of legislation that was highly technical about the future and you had people other than eddie and i working together for a common result. we actually crossed the capital and worked with members of the senate. it was a large effort that ended up yielding a tremendous piece of legislation. >> what do you wish you had done differently? eddie may disagree with me. the only thing on my have done differently is in regard to the checklist, i might if made it more prescriptive so there would've been less interpretations with the federal interpretation commission over a short period of time.
we had a conscious discussion and i think we ended up with the right results saying we wanted to leave discretion with the federal communication commission , realizing that technology was evolving and there would be things that we could not anticipate so i think we made overall the right policy decision but in that regard i probably would if comeback and suggested a more prescriptive approach. >> before i get back to that, i want to go through this litany of saints. mikedingell was great, tozan.billy toes in the senate, fritz hollings and trent lott agreeing on everything, amazing. they would clear the pathway to make this possible legislatively and a relatively short.
of time. you can keep going down the line. including jay rockefeller and olympia snowe working on it with so that theuse side bills for every computer in every school in america for poor children would be paid for out of this bill so we could speed up the pace at which kids get the new skill set. behind the most vulnerable kids so the bill includes now what is $40 billion spent on those poor kids. the largest single education technology program still. if there's one thing i could do differently, i underestimated how much the phone companies would try to gobble each other up first. to gobble up all of these names that used to be well-known companies, rather than try to compete, their first goal was to gobble each other up and spend
their first couple years trying to do that. if i could do it over again i would put a limitation on how many lines each company could have which would have forced them to turn more quickly to the innovation revolution. paranoiathat, the induced by the cable industry moving by the satellite industry moving and dozens of other competitive companies now allowed into the marketplace to provide these services, to force them to move more quickly than they had historically ever done in the past. >> one other mistake -- and it may not have affected eddie, but we had a very difficult time meeting with people from silicon valley. the new guys. in fact, i took a trip to seattle to meet with bill gates.
when we walked in the room it was still gates, steve ballmer and others and it was like, why are you here? how do you know we exist? from somemore input of people more on the technological side i think we would have been a little bit did visionary and what we not to detract from what we did buy i think of weight look back, i wish you would've pressed harder to get more input from the people who are not traditionally part of the discussion. >> meanwhile, on the east coast i'm representing harvard and m.i.t.. i'm talking to and the leading philosophers for what is possible on a weekly basis so that we can be guided in terms
of what can be unleashed. the vision, they are explaining that a copy like skype can be created if we moved to all digital. that we can have a revolution where these kids can reinvent the world if we give them opportunities. without question, we are a little bit slow in understanding that we were moving to a new interactive model that would give much more control to the software industry, to a new burgeoning internet industry, the net result is the same. even though some companies might have been slow in understanding how quickly they would have to move, that gave even more room for surrogate and larry to become household names because they can move in to it would've been done by the incumbent silicon valley firm so the net result is not much different.
it's just that the names of the billionaires are different is the incumbents could have moved into that space if they had understood the revolution. >> i was extremely blessed to have a partner like ed markey. we trusted each other and if we degreed -- disagree we were never disagreeable. the laser focus realizing we had a moment of opportunity. it was 1996. we knew that we had a responsibility to the country to get something done and we were able to push it -- push it over the goal line. technological nature, do think most memory of congress got it or do they trust in your judgment? >> i personally believe there was more trust in our judgment because -- for most members this was terra incognito.
a whole new world. tvy understand analog, three era. the fax machine, they understand some of these things. so where we are going is a revolution. it's a most unimaginable to a kid today that there was a time before you walked around with it device in your pocket that was the equivalent of a supercomputer 20 years ago. but you knew it had to happen that the laws would be changed. i will say that the administration was great on this, al gore was great, bill clinton was great. they had a focus on making this one of the signature issues of their time in office and as you look back at the 1990's and you try to decide today, what was the biggest thing that happened to transform not just the united states but the whole planet. it's probably what happened
because of the telecommunications act. you see syrian refugees with their iphones trying to find where to go next. you can see the communication going on across states across continents exchanging information that was unimaginable. you cannot fully understand the magnitude of it, they cause are still at the dawn of this era. but we are proud of this. jack and i are proud of having begun those hearings in that united three, creating the environment that made it possible to happen on a bipartisan basis. we took all the acrimony out of the system and i think we have created something that is still viable today. if we could rename it, i would not call it the telecommunications act, today i would collect the internet of
things act because that revolution has now insinuated itself into manufacturing of automobiles, of manufacturing equipment, of health care. name the industry and it has been transformed by this. is quite come to pass gratifying for jack and i because they sounded crazy and they were beyond the capacity of many members to fully grasp what we were doing but the proof is in the everyday lives of everyone on our planet. >> people talk about the substance. that's primarily where we spend our time. the coming back to our process. eddie mentioned, the clinton administration should be competent. vice president gore was directly involved. our basketball buddies.
he had a guy named greg simon. greg simon working for vice president gore would call me up and say, are you sure that is a direction you want to go and what to tell you that president have a problem and the vice president will have a problem. sometimes we would agree and sometimes we wouldn't amount it was that line of communication. but you look at the process, eddie and i being able to work together. we also thought we had to lead the senate which we did. we had the ability to talk with each other, the ability to talk across the capital. the ability to talk to the president and i think many times today that's what's missing in terms of governing and passing good legislation. the 2010e are not only anniversary should not only be about the substance. becausedid is important we did erase those lines of demarcation to allow competitive
forces. but we also set an example of how you've worked together for the common good for a major segment of the economy. at that time, the telecommunications and a street was 1/6 of the american economy. it's larger now and it affects everything that we do. when i try to explain to my prior towhere we were the act and how we got to where we are today we cannot claim credit for all of the technologies and applications and how it has improved everybody's life but we can claim credit for unleashing the competition. >> all you have to say is long distance they have no idea what it means. >> congressman, 20 years out, is it time to update the act? >> again, we go to that crossroads where, among our selves, we wanted to leave things open so that things could be interpreted.
somenk there are probably areas where congress could come back and look. you have a much different dynamic and paradigm than 9096 but it is possible that the act will last for quite a bit longer. >> in my view the 1996 act was the future and the 1996 act is the future today and it will be the future in the future. it works. creatingll a job engine. young people all across america, as long as we keep net a trolley on the books so they can access anything, anywhere, at any time. last year, 62% of all venture capital went to internet startups and startup companies. incredible job
creating engine for our country. meanwhile, we have some problems to solve. we can continue to work on the digital divide and make sure that everyone has access to it, , thet the end of the day fundamental structure of this bill that every company can do everything and that we protect new entrance as well as the old incumbents is going to i think continue to make america number one looking over its shoulder at number two and three in the world. make that statement because we did not try to pick winners and losers. we focused on what was best for the individual and i have always been proud of the way that we conducted our selves and obviously we stayed up your all the way through. >> senator, you pulled out two wireless devices. how was that addressed?
>> what jack and i did is we moved over 200 megahertz of spectrum for the wireless revolution. 1993, there were two cell phone companies in america. costwere analog and it $.60 per minute. the phone looked like the thing that gordon? was taught talking into on wall street. they were all created so that by 1996 the price had dropped to under $.10 per minute and this is what people were walking around with all across america. theid that in 1993 and with 1996 act as we are bringing video, voice, data and everything together, we are creating the conditions whereby steve jobs can further innovate with a new vice. you cannot imagine that will happen but it looks a lot in my mind like what the dick tracy
device looked like in the comic strips. the apple watch is the final fulfillment of that. are people right now who are kind of listening to this show and looking at their iphones at the same time. proud to that and i am looking forward to the day that young people never look up again. they are just looking down at these wireless devices. tracy wristout dick tv in the hearings so we could kind of envision a world that would change wireless as well as the wire line world. >> a senator mentioned something so important and he will not brag on himself but what eddie did, what mike oxley did, in terms of making spectrum available and auctioning that
spectrum, not only is it a tremendous revenue source for the federal government but that's a lifeline of the wireless industry. if you don't have spectrum you cannot create the new technologies. you do not have the applications. it sounds simple but that was a major competent. you get the sense that over a period of years on the telik medication subcommittee, the full energy and subcommittee in the house, we have relationships outside on the basketball court, the friendships. but inside the committee, we operated as a team and whether there was a democrat majority or republican majority, we respected each other and worked with each other. we always focused on, what was the solution and common good for the public. i feel extremely proud of that process. >> do you feel that the good?uent fcc's have been
>> we may disagree a little bit. in some of the fcc administrations -- i think back and i bring up that word descriptive again, but we came to that crossroads about, did we take that approach or leave it open so there was more discretion to stop i think we made the right policy decision but the answer is no, i would not agree with everything done by the best ec. >> my belief, when al gore recommended that reed hunt be made the chair of the federal communications commission, that was a great appointment. he understood what the spirit of the slot was. to create a real revolution in our country. and he did it. last up to today, the very rulemaking in the bill was voted out last week at the federal
communications commission. up thee is on opening set-top box that people use on top of their cable tv set. americaw, everyone in is renting that from the company -- like they used to have to rent the black rotary dial phone that we did away with. the fcc is going to open it up and that will save consumers six to 15 billion dollars per year because they can just go to a best buy and by a different -- a best buy and buy a different box. it will open it up to young technologists all across the country, the ability to reinvent how it works, even while preserving the copyrights of the cable industry and the privacy rights of citizens. but to have that device be open.
takinglemaking is now testimony at the fcc and i'm out of proud that that will be the final rulemaking because that is an amendment -- amendment that i ended -- added with a republican from virginia in 1995 and it was the last piece of bipartisan legislation that will be thateted on the 96 act and will further accelerate the changes we see in this area. >> we only have a minute left. senator, given how fast technology is moving today -- you are on the committee in the senate without which works on these issues. do you see legislation where it can be used? >> i think that we have to set aside more spectrum for wi-fi.
inhink her is a lot of work understanding this internet of things. how it is creating new issues for us. with an ipadkid can take over the control of your automobile. it is a computer on wheels. a digital vehicle moving down the street. they are not tracking how people -- congress has a role to make sure that each of these industries response to what has been made possible by the digital revolution. this drone revolution is all part of it. we need new policies for travis he. we need -- for privacy.
new policies for safety. the technologies do not have any value. the test for congress is to build into each technology. the historic values of our families and societies. that is always the challenge for us. technologists will say, stay away. the job of congress is to make sure that these technologies serve everyone. that the old values are still placed into these technologies. the internet of things, the digital revolution makes it imperative for the congress to continue to act. >> where are you when it comes to the apple encryption fbi issue playing out? >> in my opinion, the apple officials should work with the government officials to open that iphone. at the same time, to keep that
code completely secret so that it does not jeopardize the security of rather -- of every other iphone in the united states or the world. we have to find a balance. bill gates has taken that position. i understand that tim cook is on the other side. again, it is a debate that we have to have. many of these devices can do used for nefarious purposes. in many ways, there is a dickensian quality. is the best of technology and the worst technology. it can and noble or debase. in this case, there is a good middle ground. >> >> you asked earlier about regrets. not being inegret
public office to work on telecommunication policy. that was the best four years of my life. not only did we have the personal friendship, we really felt that we were doing something for the country. i miss that. >> can i say the same thing? we had a special, special time oncreate a historic change our country and on the planet. to have jack be my buddy -- we played basketball all date for one hour. technically we were exposed we talking about policy, after you've had a good game of basketball, we just sit there and try to work out the differences to get it done. we are the best of friends then and now. >> senator edward markey and republican jack fields of texas.